Image2013 has been a prime year for lessons.  Big girl lessons.  Lessons that I have probably been avoiding for years but it seems like they have all caught up to me in successive order this year.  I’d whine about it but you know what- I am just happy that I am leaving 2013 a better Ashley Burton than I came into 2013.  There were some years where I couldn’t say that but this year I am proud that it’s a different story.  That leads me to this post…

I have always fancied myself to be a pretty humble person (always to myself though because everyone knows that if you brag about your humility, you don’t have it).  I never liked how it looked when I saw people that had to brag on everything they did or said; I much more preferred the “let your works speak for you” approach to life.  And I had gotten this approach down to the tee with people.  But somewhere along the way, I must’ve forgot that God knew me better than anyone else and that His knowledge extends all the way to my needs, wishes, desires, hopes, and dreams.

I began take an approach with God that I can’t call anything else but false humility.  Somewhere along the way I began to believe that God needed to see me the same way I knew people needed to see me – as a balanced, humble person.  This led to my prayers becoming guarded and instead of just being honest with God about what I want and allowing HIM to conform my desires to His, I decided that I would conform my prayers to what I felt would be acceptable to God.

For example (and this is just one example – this lesson has been in various areas of my life), some may know of my struggle to find full-time employment over the past year and a half.  I was working two part-time positions at one place and doing babysitting on the side.  I was blessed to be able to still receive most of my health benefits through my mother’s plan (thanks, Mom!) but then there was the ever so small issue of me turning 26 in July of this year (don’t you just hate growing up?!?).  Needless to say, my prayers for one full-time job with benefits became more fervent.

Fervent, insincere prayers apparently don’t work well with God.  I began to feel desperate so in my attempt for the Lord not to think that I was being both a beggar and picky, I began to frame my prayers in this “I’ll take a job, no matter the pay, as long as I have good benefits!” way.  That way, I thought, I would be framing my prayers in a way that focused on my primary need and God would see that and He would be proud because, you know, my priorities were in order.  Hmph.  The only thing is…I did care about the wages.  I have goals that I would like to meet over these next few months.  I have a business I’m trying to get off the ground.  I’ve got a credit score I’m trying to raise.  I’ve got personal deadlines I’ve got to meet.  Wages DO matter to me.  But for some reason I felt like I had to fake like it didn’t because I didn’t want God to be disappointed that it did.

Well, whadayaknow?  The Lord answered my prayer.  I was hired in August at my current job (and I’m grateful…inserts a “He Turned It” praise).  My benefits package is GREAT; my compensation…well you know.  And I’m not saying this to complain but I am saying this so you can get the lesson the Lord dropped to me about this and the numerous other situations on which I tested Him.  It’s this – JUST BE HONEST WITH GOD.  About everything.  That whole false humility thing that we pull on people absolutely does not work with Him.  I just thought you should be warned.  He knows what you need and He also knows what you want.  You gain nothing but trying to come to God “looking” more acceptable; it just exposes more of the condition of your contrary heart.  God is big enough to handle all of us and all of what comes with us.  He is also big enough to do the transforming work that we cannot do ourselves which would include our desires if they fall outside of His Will.  He is also wise enough to keep us away from the desires that would do us harm.

So the next time you talk to God and tell Him what you want, what you’ll do, where you’ll go, be advised that He is listening.  I find it so funny that God will not always give us our desires but sometimes He gives us what we claim to be desires just so He can get some transparency.  I have no doubt that one of two things will happen: 1. God will allow little to become much and I will be able to accomplish what I set my hands to or 2. God will open another door just as He has opened this one and I still will be able to accomplish.  Either way, my needs are currently met and I have a greater resolve to just be honest with the Lord.  Isn’t God wonderful with these lessons?!?!  Yeah, my thoughts exactly…

“Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” – Hebrews 4:16

Photo credit: Kevin Spear

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